The only incumbent to lose last month's city election, Annapolis Alderman Joseph Sachs, has played the role of lame duck to the hilt.
As the other alderman and the mayor began gearing up for tomorrow's inauguration and the next four years, Mr. Sachs playfully limped in and out of City Hall wearing a novelty hat shaped like a duck's bill.
When the clerk called the official roll at the Nov. 22 council meeting, the Ward 4 Republican quacked to mark his attendance for the final time.
Friday morning, Mr. Sachs spent two hours deliberating with the council's Economic Matters Committee over legislation governing cable television franchises in the city.
Then he turned in his keys to City Hall.
At 9:30 a.m. tomorrow, Shepard Tullier, a Democrat and former county planner, will be sworn in as the new alderman from Ward 4. Mayor Alfred Hopkins and the seven other alderman also are to be inaugurated during a 90-minute ceremony at the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts auditorium.
"There isn't any point in expressing sour grapes," said Mr. Sachs, 59, appointed last summer to fill the vacant seat left by the resignation of Ruth Gray.
"Somebody told me a long time ago that if you can't deal with losing, then you should not be in public life, because you are going to lose at some point, whether it's a piece of legislation or an election," said Mr. Sachs, owner of a Riva Road sandwich and soda shop.
Mr. Sachs' recent levity caught some of his colleagues, who thought him "generally a pretty serious guy," by surprise.
"If he had shown some of that sense of humor during the campaign, it may have been a different story election night," said Alderman Carl O. Snowden, a Ward 5 Democrat, chuckling at the thought of Mr. Sachs' duck impression.
Joking aside, Mr. Sachs, who moved to Annapolis from Baltimore in 1966 as a political aide to then-Gov. Spiro T. Agnew, said he's not ready to give up public life entirely. A longtime civic activist, whose career has included stints on the Annapolis Historic District Commission, Mr. Sachs is still a member of the Anne Arundel County Alcohol and Drug Advisory Council, which advises the county executive on the magnitude of drug and alcohol abuse in the county.
A former president of the Annapolis Symphony, he was one of six people who founded the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts. He will be there tomorrow for the inaugural ceremonies.
A spokesman for the mayor's office said that Mr. Sachs is one of 24 former city aldermen and mayors who served with Mr. Hopkins during his 32 years in city office, including 28 as alderman, invited to the inauguration. Between 500 and 1,000 guests are expected at the various inaugural day functions, the spokesman said.
"This is his last hurrah and this is sort of a tribute to all the people who have helped him along the way," said spokesman Tom Roskelly, noting that the mayor can only serve two terms in office. "He's saluting all of the people he's served with, friend and foe, along the way."
Mr. Hopkins, 68, chose Maryland Hall, which previously had been Annapolis Senior High School, as the site of this year's ceremony for sentimental reasons, too. The mayor graduated from the school 50 years ago.
Alderman John R. Hammond, a Ward 1 Republican, is set to be sworn in for his fifth term but will have to choose between staying on the council or accepting a job in county government. Mr. Hammond last week accepted an appointment as Anne Arundel's financial officer and had planned to keep both jobs. But County Attorney Judson P. Garrett Jr. said Thursday that the state constitution prohibits him from doing so.
The alderman said Thursday that he would be making a decision soon.
Following the ceremonies, the mayor's office is throwing an inaugural party at the U.S. Naval Academy's Fleet Reserve Club at 7 p.m.
Mr. Snowden, a Ward 5 Democrat, is throwing his own inaugural HTC ball at the Loews Annapolis Hotel at 7 p.m.
Mr. Snowden, one of five incumbents not supported by the mayor during the election, said he wanted to use the ball to establish himself as "an independent council member with his own vision for the city in the next four years."